Urban Meyer has actually brought four classes to Florida, but his first class was a last ditch effort to retain the commitments that former Gator coach Ron Zook had landed combined with a few new faces Meyer was able to convince to come to Gainesville. So ignoring that season, Meyer's recruiting success at Florida has been phenomenal. He's brought a No. 1 class, a No. 2 class and a No. 12 class. The average of his last three classes ranks the Gators second among other programs.
#1 Southern Cal – average rank #4
#2 Florida – average rank #5
#3 Notre Dame – average rank #6
#4 LSU – average rank #6.3
#5 Michigan – average rank #8.6
Analyzing the numbers from Meyer's classes tell some interesting stories. For instance, as Meyer has strengthened the Florida program and separated it from Miami and Florida State, his in-state numbers have actually decreased. Meyer's first class in 2006 pulled in 17-of-26 recruits from the state of Florida, or 65 percent. In 2007, Florida brought in 18-of-27, or 67 percent, from Florida for an increase of two percent, but had Meyer not landed seven players from Lakeland, that statistic might look much different. And this year's class had just 10-of-22 players from the Sunshine State, or just 45 percent.
Where are the other players coming from then if the majority of recruits are no longer coming from in-state schools?
The Gators have seen a steady increase of recruits from non-SEC states, meaning Florida's recruiting has gone more national. In 2006, the Gators brought in just five players (19 percent) from states outside the Southeast. Two of those recruits are Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes, so the Gators aren't getting leftovers, but instead they are getting the cream of the crop from other states.
In 2007, the percent of recruits from outside the Southeast increased by three percent, and again, Joe Haden and Aaron Hernandez were two of the best in the nation and the best from their respective states.
This year's class included the highest percentage of recruits from non-SEC states compared to Meyer's previous two classes. More than a quarter of the players starting this fall are from other areas of the country, including Will Hill, Brendan Beal and Carl Moore. Clearly, Meyer and the Gators are having success at grabbing national talent.
The other numbers that shed light on the Gators' recruiting habits deal with the areas from which Florida is getting its in-state athletes. Defining South Florida as Lake Okeechobee south, Florida has had moderate success landing South Florida prospects, but they've made up less than 20 percent of the in-state recruits brought in over the last three years. Only eight players have come from what is typically considered ‘Cane territory with Meyer's best success coming from the '07 class when the Gators landed four – Deonte Thompson, Wondy Pierre-Louis, Major Wright and Bo Williams. It's interesting to note, though, that two of the four started as true freshmen and the three that remain on the roster should all play major roles this fall.
Florida's best in-state success has come from Central Florida. Again, the Lakeland-seven makes the number slightly skewed, but Meyer has landed 25 players from Central Florida, or 33 percent of all recruits from the last three classes. Surprisingly, the Gators have only landed 12 kids from North Florida, which is closer to home. But it's important to note that Florida has only landed one prospect west of Lake City and that's Dustin Doe. Meyer hasn't brought in one player from the panhandle or the Seminoles' backyard.
So who is having success in South Florida, and who is having success in the panhandle? We'll compare and contrast over the next few weeks. But first here's a look at the breakdown by metro area in Florida.
Recruit Breakdown from Florida (last three classes):
Tampa -- 18
Jacksonville -- 8
Southeast Fla. -- 7
Orlando – 5
Gainesville/Ocala – 4
Southwest Fla. -- 3
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski
Recruiting By The Numbers
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